The diamond signifies love, protection, and timeless beauty. It is the most common gemstone used in wedding rings, and symbolizes undying love. Yet some diamonds are obtained through illegal and brutal practices, and are sold to fund anti-government activities.
Conflict diamonds have existed for quite some time; however, media attention has open people’s eyes to the horrors of illegal diamond trade. In the 1990’s, conflict diamonds represented nearly 4 percent of the world’s diamond supply.
The diamond industry has worked with the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, and government institutions to eradicate conflict diamonds from the industry. Currently, 99 percent of all diamonds are now conflict free. When buying a diamond, it is crucial to ensure that the stone is not one of the 1 percent of conflict diamonds that are still available on the market.
Jewelry buyers are encouraged to seek answers to the following questions before purchasing diamonds in order to prevent buying a conflict diamond.
Where are the diamonds mined?
It is important that the diamond retailer has information available naming exactly where the diamonds are sourced from. Countries, including Australia, Canada, Botswana, Russia, Tanzania, South Africa, and Namibia are all peaceful diamond countries. They are able to use the profits from their diamond trade to develop a solid infrastructure and create hospitals and schools.
Ultimately the diamond trade in these countries helps to fund better communities. People should be suspicious if the diamonds are mined in countries, such as Angola, Zimbabwe, or the Ivory Coast.
Where can the buyer obtain a copy of the jeweler’s diamond sourcing policies?
Every jeweler should have a written version of their sourcing policies available to the customer, either in printed form or online. If they do not, look for a retailer that has one available. A perfect example is Eternity Wedding Bands page here.
Does the jeweler only buy diamonds from suppliers who abide by the Kimberly Process?
In an attempt to stop illegal diamond trade and obtaining diamonds from areas that use harsh mining practices, the Kimberly Process Certification program was formed. Over 70 governmental agencies from across the world joined forces and placed strong restrictions on their diamond processes.
Under the program, governments certify the source of rough diamonds and put other stringent controls in place to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the diamond supply chain. Some of the practices used to control this process include:
- Rough mined diamonds are placed in tamper-resistant containers for shipping.
- Each container is sealed with a conflict-free Kimberly certificate.
- Each certificate has unique serial numbers, making it difficult to forge.
- The containers can only be shipped to another country who abides by the Kimberly Process.
- Each conflict-free diamond sold comes with a written statement, known as the System of Warranties.
Although some organizations claim that the Kimberly Process can be easily infiltrated by non-governmental sources that bring conflict diamonds into the diamond supply, the certification process is still used.
Does the jeweler use other methods to avoid use of conflict diamonds?
Those interested in purchasing diamonds should look into the diamond-buying practices of the company before making a purchase. Consumers should make sure that the company they are purchasing from has strict regulations against buying diamonds from areas tied to child labor, violence, and environmental harm.
Buying a diamond is an exciting process. Gorgeous diamonds are timeless. Yet, diamonds that are conflict-free are even more beautiful as they have not been mined at the expense of another person’s life.